West London borough Richmond upon Thames is to start charging residents on a weight basis for DIY waste from 2 December 2019, partly because the authority’s budget is being hit by DIY disposal costs. A minimum fee of £41 will be imposed.
And, the council is also in the throes of appointing a new contractor to provide its collection service for household waste and recycling which is currently run by Veolia.
Veolia secured a contract extension in 2017 which runs through to 31 March 2020 for Richmond upon Thames’ household waste and recycling collection and associated services. The work includes the sorting of recyclables, excluding paper and card, at the company’s Rainham MRF.
However, contractor Serco is now thought to have edged ahead of Veolia in the tender process for taking on the work from April 2020 – an announcement from the borough is expected soon.
Should Serco be confirmed for the work, it will mark a successful few months for the company having secured a contract for collection work in the Royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in June this year, valued at £120 million. And, Serco has reported a number of contract extensions including for the London boroughs of Newham and Bexley.
From December 2 residents in Richmond arriving by car and with DIY waste will have their cars weighed on entrance to the borough’s Townmead Road household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) in Kew.
- Richmond's Townmead Road: residents will be charged a minimum of £41 for DIY waste
- The plasterboard skip at Richmond's busy Townmead site
- Residents will not be charged for recyclable materials, general household waste and garden waste
A spokesperson for the authority explained: “Cars would be weighed to record the gross weight in, then re-weighed once the waste has been removed to obtain the tare weight, the weighbridge would then calculate the difference giving the net weight charge.”
The authority already has experience of weighing cars and charging as this is applied to out of borough vehicles as well as vehicles from Richmond borough over their monthly allowance. Currently residents are able to dispose of up to six 80 litre refuse sacks of DIY waste every month at the Townmead Road Centre without charge.
Richmond has explained that the new charging scheme will cover items that “once formed part of the permanent fixtures and fittings of a residential property”. This will be charged at £205 per tonne with a minimum fee of £41. Richmond said that the move brings the Townmead Road depot into line with the charges of neighbouring boroughs and that it also seeks to address the rising impact of DIY waste disposal costs on council budgets.
Cllr Martin Elengorn, Richmond’s chair of environment, sustainability, culture and sport committee, said: “Managing Richmond’s waste disposal costs, coupled with on-going reductions in government funding, meant we needed to look carefully at how we deal with and pay for waste. This type of DIY and construction waste can be expensive to dispose of.
“This new charge is being introduced to cover the costs of disposing DIY and construction waste by those who require the service, which we believe is the fairest way for all residents.
“Many authorities elsewhere in the UK already charge for this type of waste to cover their cost of its disposal, and Richmond will now be doing the same. I would stress that these charges apply to the specified waste types only and no householder will be expected to pay for normal household waste, recycling materials, and garden waste taken to Townmead. Leaflets will also be available at the centre to ensure that residents are kept up-to-date.”